Edmonton Journal v. Alberta (Attorney General), (1989) 103 A.R. 321 (SCC)

JudgeDickson, C.J.C., Lamer, Wilson, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka and Cory, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateDecember 21, 1989
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1989), 103 A.R. 321 (SCC)

Edmonton Journal v. Alta. (A.G.) (1989), 103 A.R. 321 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

.........................

In the Matter of Sections 2(b) and 52(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Being Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982;

And in the Matter of Sections 25 and 30 of the Judicature Act, Being Chapter J-1 of the Revised Statutes of Alberta, 1980 The Edmonton Journal, a Division of Southam Inc. (appellant) v. The Attorney General for Alberta and The Attorney General of Canada (respondents) and The Attorney General for Ontario (intervener)

(20608)

Indexed As: Edmonton Journal v. Alberta (Attorney General)

Supreme Court of Canada

Dickson, C.J.C., Lamer, Wilson, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka and Cory, JJ.

December 21, 1989.

Summary:

Section 30 of the Alberta Judicature Act restricted the publication of certain matters relating to litigation (both trial and pretrial) involving the termination of marriages. The Edmonton Journal applied for a declaration that s. 30 was discriminatory and denied equality rights contrary to s. 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and also that it violated the freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter.

The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, in a judgment reported 63 A.R. 114, held that s. 30 violated neither s. 2(b) nor s. 15(1). The court held that if such rights were violated, s. 30 would still be a reasonable limit prescribed by law under s. 1 of the Charter. The Edmonton Journal appealed.

The Alberta Court of Appeal, in a judgment reported 78 A.R. 375, dismissed the appeal. The court held that s. 30 violated the right to freedom of expression, but not equality rights, but that s. 30 was valid as a reasonable limit prescribed by law under s. 1. The Edmonton Journal appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé and Sopinka, JJ., dissenting in part, allowed the appeal. The majority of the court held that s. 30 violated the right to freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter and was not a reasonable limit prescribed by law under s. 1. The minority of the court agreed that s. 30 violated s. 2(b), but stated that only s. 30(2) was not justified under s. 1.

Civil Rights - Topic 941

Discrimination - Publication, display or broadcast - Judicature Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. J-1, s. 30 - Section 30 restricted the publication of certain matters relating to litigation (both trial and pretrial) involving the termination of marriages - A newspaper claimed s. 30 denied equality rights under s. 15(1), because s. 30 applied to the press but not the broadcast media, and therefore discriminated against the press - The Alberta Court of Appeal affirmed that s. 30 applied to all types of media who publish, therefore there was no discrimination or denial of equality rights - The Supreme Court of Canada, per Dickson, C.J.C., Cory, Lamer and Wilson, JJ., found it unnecessary to determine whether s. 30 violated equality rights - La Forest, J. (L'Heureux-Dubé and Sopinka, JJ., concurring), opined that s. 30 did not violate s. 15 - See paragraph 100.

Civil Rights - Topic 2486

Freedom of the press - Limitations - Court proceedings - Re termination of marriages - Section 30 of the Alberta Judicature Act restricted the publication of certain matters relating to litigation (both trial and pretrial) involving the termination of marriages - A newspaper submitted s. 30 denied freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights - The Alberta Court of Appeal held that limitations on the factual reports of judicial proceedings, a valued activity respecting the due administration of justice, constituted a denial of the right to freedom of expression - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that s. 30 violated the freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter and held that s. 30 was not a reasonable limit prescribed by law under s. 1.

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law - [See Civil Rights - Topic 2486 above].

Cases Noticed:

Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 580, Peterson and Alexander, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573; 71 N.R. 83, refd to. [para. 4].

Gannett Co. v. DePasquale (1979), 443 U.S. 368, refd to. [para. 7].

Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc. (1978), 435 U.S. 589, refd to. [para. 7].

MacIntyre v. Attorney General of Nova Scotia et al., [1982] 1 S.C.R. 175; 40 N.R. 181; 49 N.S.R.(2d) 609; 96 A.P.R. 609, refd to. [para. 8].

Chaussure Brown's Inc. et al. v. Québec (Procureur général), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712; 90 N.R. 84; 19 Q.A.C. 69, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335, refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481, refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 713; 71 N.R. 161; 19 O.A.C. 239, refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd. - see R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al.

Southam Inc. v. Hunter, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291, refd to. [para. 21].

Canada v. Amway Corp. et al., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 21; 91 N.R. 18, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Dyment, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 417; 89 N.R. 249; 73 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 13; 229 A.P.R. 13, refd to. [para. 21].

R. v. Whyte, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 3; 86 N.R. 328, refd to. [para. 24].

Canadian Newspapers Co. v. Canada, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 122; 87 N.R. 163; 32 O.A.C. 259, dist. [para. 30].

Sunday Times, The (1979-80), 2 Eur. H.R.R. 245, refd to. [para. 34].

Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Québec (Procureur général), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927; 94 N.R. 167; 24 Q.A.C. 2, refd to. [para. 38].

Reference Re Compulsory Arbitration, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 313; 74 N.R. 99; 78 A.R. 1, refd to. [para. 49].

Richmond Newspapers Inc. v. Virginia (1980), 448 U.S. 555, refd to. [para. 57].

Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court of California (1986), 478 U.S. 1, refd to. [para. 58].

R. v. Genest, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 59; 91 N.R. 161; 19 Q.A.C. 163, refd to. [para. 66].

R. v. Beare; R. v. Higgins, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 387; 88 N.R. 205; 71 Sask.R. 1, refd to. [para. 66].

R. v. Simmons, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 495; 89 N.R. 1; 30 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 66].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; 82 N.R. 1; 26 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 67].

McPherson v. McPherson, [1936] A.C. 177 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 69].

Scott v. Scott, [1913] A.C. 417, refd to. [para. 69].

Reference re Alberta Statutes, [1938] S.C.R. 100, refd to. [para. 83].

Fraser v. Public Service Staff Relations Board, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 455; 63 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 84].

Global Communications Ltd. v. State of California and Attorney General for Ontario (1984), 2 O.A.C. 21; 5 D.L.R.(4th) 634 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 85].

United States of America v. Cotroni, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1469; 96 N.R. 321; 23 Q.A.C. 182, refd to. [para. 87].

Davidson v. Slaight Communications Inc., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1038; 93 N.R. 183, refd to. [para. 93].

Aluminum Company of Canada Ltd. v. Ontario (Minister of the Environment) (1986), 16 O.A.C. 14; 55 O.R.(2d) 522 (Div. Ct.), refd to. [para. 101].

Parkdale Hotel Ltd. v. Canada (Attorney General), [1986] 2 F.C. 514, refd to. [para. 101].

Milk Board v. Clearview Dairy Farm Inc., [1987] 4 W.W.R. 279 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 101].

Nissho Corp. v. Bank of British Columbia (1987), 39 D.L.R.(4th) 453 (Alta. Q.B.), refd to. [para. 101].

Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255, refd to. [para. 101].

Reference Re Sections 32 and 34 of the Workers' Compensation Act (Nfld.), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 922; 96 N.R. 227; 76 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 181; 235 A.P.R. 181, refd to. [para. 101].

R. v. Turpin, Siddiqui and Clauzel, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1296; 96 N.R. 115; 34 O.A.C. 115, refd to. [para. 101].

Heydon's Case (1584), 3 Co. Rep. 7a; 76 E.R. 637, refd to. [para. 88].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 1, sect. 2(b) [para. 2]; sect. 15(1).

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 166 [para. 81].

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950), 213 U.N.T.S. 222, art. 8 [para. 90]; art. 10(2) [para. 85].

Family Law Act 1975, S. Aust. 1975, No. 53, sect. 121(1) [para. 81].

Family Proceedings Act 1980, S.N.Z. 1980, No. 94, sect. 169(1), sect. 169(2) [para. 81].

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), G.A. Res. 2200 A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR, Supp. (No. 16) 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316, art. 19(3) [paras. 85, 91].

Judicature Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. J-1, sect. 30(1) [paras. 2, 53, 78]; sect. 30(2) [para. 2]; sect. 30(3) [paras. 2, 53, 78]; sect. 31(1), sect. 31(2), sect. 31(3), sect. 31(4), sect. 31(5) [para. 2].

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc. A/810, art. 12 [para. 91].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bentham, Jeremy, Rationale of Judicial Evidence (1827), vol. 1, p. 522 [para. 55].

Bentham, Jeremy, Treatise on Judicial Evidence (1825), pp. 68 [para. 60]; 69 [para. 59].

Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1768), Book III, ch. 23, p. 373 [paras. 6, 55].

Bloustein, E.J., Privacy as an Aspect of Human Dignity (1964), 39 N.Y.U.L. Rev. 962 [para. 65].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Divorce: Law and the Family in Canada (1983), p. 48 [para. 19].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Marriages and Divorces: Vital Statistics 1985 (1986), p. 2 [para. 19].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Marrying and Divorcing: A Status Report of Canada (1988) [para. 19].

Cohen, Anne E., Access to Pretrial Documents Under the First Amendment (1984), 84 Colum. L. Rev. 1813, p. 1827 [para. 11].

Fried, C., Privacy (1968), 77 Yale L.J. 475, p. 477 [para. 65].

Gross, H., The Concept of Privacy (1967), 42 N.Y.U.L. Rev. 34 [para. 65].

Howland, W.G.C. et al., Reports on the Administration of Justice in Ontario on the Opening of the Courts for 1988 (1989), 23 L. Soc. Gaz. 4, p. 24 [para. 19].

Prosser, W.L., Privacy (1960), 48 Calif. L. Rev. 383 [para. 65].

Schiff, Stanley, Evidence in the Litigation Process (3rd Ed. 1988), vol. 2, p. 1015 [para. 70].

Stoljar, Samuel, A Re-examination of Privacy: An Answer to Dean Prosser (1984), 4 Legal Studies 67 [para. 65].

United Kingdom, Report and Special Report from the Select Committee on the Matrimonial Causes (Regulation of Reports) Bill (1923) [para. 81].

United Kingdom, Report of the Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes (1912), Part XVI [para. 81].

Warren, S.D., and Brandeis, L.D., The Right to Privacy (1890), 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 [para. 65].

Wigmore, J.H., Evidence in Trials at Common Law (Chadbourn Rev. 1976), vol. 6, para. 1834, p. 438 [para. 60]; 435-436 [para. 55].

Counsel:

A. Lefever and F. Kozak, for the appellant;

N. Steed, for the respondent, the Attorney General for Alberta;

D. Lepofski and T. Macklem, for the intervener. Solicitors of Record: Reynolds, Mirth, Richards & Farmer, Edmonton, Alberta, for the appellant;

Department of the Attorney General, Edmonton, Alberta, for the respondent, the Attorney General for Alberta;

Ministry of the Attorney General, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener.

This appeal was heard on March 3, 1989, before Dickson, C.J.C., Lamer, Wilson, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka and Cory, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On December 21, 1989, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered in both official languages and the following opinions were filed:

Cory, J. (Dickson, C.J.C. and Lamer, J., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 40;

Wilson, J. - see paragraphs 41 to 74; La Forest, J. (L'Heureux-Dubé and Sopinka, JJ., concurring), dissenting in part - see paragraphs 75 to 102.

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